As an up and coming band, when you have someone who has earned much respect and demonstrated much skill time after time with bands of different sub-genres of Metal in the production chair, heads are going to turn. The ability of Closed Casket Activities and Vein themselves to attract a producer of Will Putney’s undoubted talent speaks volumes for the bands abilities. A master in the chair is not going to want to sully their reputation with something they don’t think will be worth their while. Hailing from Boston Massachusetts, Vein already have a trio of EPs out since their debut in 2013 (August 2017’s “Self-Destruct”, June 2015’s “Terrors Realm” and July 2013’s Self-Titled), so they have history and a fan base. Their writing streak must have also been hot as the last of those EPs was recorded in August 2017 while “Errorzone” was done way back in November 2017, just 3 months later.
“Errozone” starts with single “Virus://Vibrance”, which immediately sets the tone and starts things moving with a number of Slipknot self-titled era isms, wearing it’s influences on its sleeve. Sampled drum loops with Jungle styled industrial leanings meet chugging downtuned riffage head on while frontman Anthony DiDo’s bark delivers a bitch and scratch quality vocal. “Old Data In A Dead Machine” steps things up a notch by adding a deeper atmospheric later after its blast beats and driven riffage. A clean vocal with grunge-y tones bounces up into a guttural scream in places as the helter skelter of schizophrenic unclean vocals kicks in. Dialling back the guitars during the bridge before a Beatdown inspired slow down with adds to the madness. “Rebirth Control” then burst out of the previous track like an Alien from a chest cavity. At 66 seconds it’s a short, sharp and aggressive statement over a single verse that demands a longer track. It also borrows the riff from “No Life” by Slipknot, albeit altered in tone and speed. “Broken Glass Complextion” takes all of the previous elements and builds them into one bombastic track. Breakbeat styled drum patterns set an unrelenting pace for the guitar attack follow suit. Eerie atmospheric squeals and noises replace your solos and lead riffage while the call and response vocal in the post chorus will set on fire whirlwind Moshpits.
“Anethesia” is another short track at 67 seconds and on first listen appears to be a pallet cleanser but is in fact an intro piece. Its looped alarm call guitar into industrial beats with clean vocals gradually builds getting faster and faster and more panicked before throwing you head first into “Demise Automation”. Fortunately, Vein don’t through the baby out with the bath water and instead smash through a who can scream louder call and response vocal over metallic hardcore guitars. Use of a beatdown speed breakdown to close out the track is a nice touch. “Doomtech” brings back the grunge-y clean vocals, at first buried in the mix and then coming to the fore during an atmospheric verse break in the sonic attack that brings an eerie and off kilter element. The second verse brings more control to the cleans, inter-splicing them with the uncleans before bringing back the bludgeoning attack. “Untitled” is the only sub-60 second track on “Errorzone” but is a full song in it’s own right rather than being an instrumental or filler. After the off kilter opening riff, big clean vocals are overlaid with Stephen Carpenter guitars and brutal bludgeoning uncleans before returning to that off kilter part. It’s deliberately designed to make you feel uneasy.
“End Eternal” continues the follow with another schizophrenic vocal attack over heavy and driven guitar work. This time the riffs are broken up by squeals and scratches while the underpinning bass line is given a chance the shine through during the oh-so-small tonal breaks. The opening hook is a call to the moshpit an instantly recognisable while returning to it in the lyrically sparse chorus works well. The answerphone “Goodbye” during the closing breakdown but not quite the end is again a master stroke. Album title track “Errorzone” flows through staccato guitars and pounding rhythms before its surprise mid-section burst of twinkling guitars and vocal melodies that lean towards Senses Fail as well as the likes of “Vermillion” by Slipknot. The piano is also also a surprise but kept in check by the expansive guitars, it adds something that isn’t found anywhere else on the album. Perhaps it’s a sign of things to come and in a few albums time, the band will make a stylistic shift. Closer “Quitting Infinity” first appeared on one of the bands promos back in 2016. Returning the band to the teeth gnashing, bite of the earlier material before an atmospheric break “Death is the answer” comes the vocal during the raw and passionate build. Production wise, Will Putney has done incredibly well, taking the Ross Robinson ideas from Slipknot’s 1999 self-titled album and making them shine with the bands sound. He’s given them something that is crisp and clean whilst being dark and atmospheric, enabling the clean vocals and melodic breakdowns enough space to breathe and not letting them get drowned out by the bludgeoning guitars and Anthony DiDo’s biting vocals. At just shy of 28 minutes, “Errorzone” is a short and sharp affair that is a great listen and shows an enormous level of scope within the music to go places with future releases. [8/1o]
2. Old Data In A Dead Machine
3. Rebirth Control
4. Broken Glass complexion
6. Demise Automation
9. End Eternal
11. Quitting Infinity
Released June 22, 2018
Engineered, Mixed and Mastered by Will Putney at Graphic Nature Audio in November 2017
Released by Closed Casket Activities
“Errorzone” by Vein is available over at bandcamp.